Brick Haley Q&A

TSD's Hunter Paniagua sat down with LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley during the Tigers' Media Day last week. In this Q&A, Haley dishes on how much Anthony Johnson has improved, what he's looking for in the competition between Danielle Hunter and Jordan Allen, and which freshmen are making a push for early playing time. Get it all in this premium interview.

Hunter Paniagua: It seems like your three most veteran linemen have really stepped up this fall. For guys like Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson and Jermauria Rasco, how has their leadership developed?

Brick Haley: "It's coming along great. Those guys are doing a good job for us. Anthony's stepped up and has been a good leader for us, same thing for Jermauria. He's done a great job for us. I'm excited for him. Ego's one in the same. Those guys have taken their roles and accepted them. They've pushed through it, and I've been pleased with the way they've helped these young guys grow through the summer and fall."

HP: With Anthony going into his junior season, what are the things he does that make him a very good player, and what are some things he needs to do to be the next in line behind guys like Glenn Dorsey and Michael Brockers?

BH: "I don't want to tell anybody the things he doesn't do or his weaknesses. Those are things we want to keep in house [laughter]. The thing that he's bringing to us right now is his leadership. He's done a great job with the younger players. His practice habits have gotten so much better. His focus has gotten so much better. He's so focused right now that he's giving us all the things that we thought he could be. You guys called him "Freak" the first day he walked in here, but I still call him Anthony, because that's who he is. Until he can prove that he is one of those guys, a Dorsey or a Brockers, those are things that are going to have to come with time. But right now he's in a good place with his work ethic, his focus and his overall attitude."

HP: With the competition between Jordan Allen and Danielle Hunter, how do their playing styles differ?

BH: "One guy [Hunter] plays with a lot more speed. The other guy [Allen] plays with a lot more power. What we're looking for is a combination of speed and power in one player. I think those guys are having a healthy competition. They're battling tit for tat, and we'll see how that all washes out."

HP: It seems of the freshmen, Tashawn Bower and Christian Lacouture have gotten the most first-team reps. What is it about their games that has pushed them to the top?

BH: "Those guys came in prepared, as did most of our freshmen. It's important to them. Both of them have come in with the attitude that they want to get on the field this year. I'm excited about where they are in the process. Of course they're both young, but they're learning and they're learning fast. Christian has a little advantage because he was here in the spring. He understands the system a little more. Tashawn right now is continuing to learn the scheme and do the things that he needs to get done. But you can see improvement in him everyday, and that's what we want. We're excited about those young guys being able to give us some depth."

HP: Lewis Neal is another freshman that's gotten a lot of attention. He's a shorter guy, but he does have those long arms. How does that help his game?

BH: "Lewis has done well for us. He came in prepared to do the things that he needed to get done. Right now he's pushing guys for playing time. That's important to him. He does a great job on the practice field. He's got to understand how we do things here at LSU, how we play up front, the tempo that we play at. Those little things he has to get right in his mind. Then he's got to find out where he fits in this system, then we go from there."

What are your expectations for the defensive line in 2013?


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